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Therapies for Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD)

Depending on the severity of your condition, noninvasive and minimally invasive options can be used to treat PAD.  Claudication, one symptom associated with the early stages of PAD, can often be treated with medication and lifestyle changes.  These lifestyle changes may include adopting an exercise routine and a healthier diet.1 Interventional treatments might also be needed to restore blood flow to blocked arteries. Learn more about these treatments by reading below.  Each treatment has limitations, risks, and potential complications that should be discussed with your physician.

Conventional Balloon Angioplasty

The most common technique for opening a narrowed vessel is with an angioplasty balloon.  This minimally invasive procedure is conducted by inserting a tiny balloon through a small incision in the groin and guiding it under x-ray to the exact location of the lesion.  The balloon is then inflated in the narrowed vessel, pushing the plaque against the wall to restore blood flow.2 Finally, the balloon is deflated and the physician will examine the artery again to determine if further intervention is necessary.1

Drug-Coated Balloon Angioplasty

Your physician may choose to treat your blocked vessel using Drug Coated Balloon (DCB) angioplasty.  This treatment is similar to conventional balloon angioplasty but includes a drug coating applied to the balloon.  The procedure is conducted by inserting the balloon through a small incision in the skin and guiding it under x-ray to the exact location of the lesion.  The balloon mechanically opens the blockage while simultaneously delivering a therapeutic dose of the drug intended to keep the vessel open longer.2


Another option that your physician may consider is the placement of a self-expanding stent.  A stent is a small wire mesh tube that is permanently placed in the artery to keep the blood vessel open.2 Once the stent has been deployed at the site of the lesion, it exerts a constant, gentle, outward force on the artery to help keep the artery open and restore proper blood flow.3

Vascular Bypass Surgery

Occasionally, a physician may encounter an occlusion (blockage) in the artery that they are unable to treat through an endovascular approach (minimally invasive options which are typically delivered through small catheters in the vasculature).  Depending on the analysis of the physician, you may be referred to a surgeon to receive a bypass graft.2
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  2. Patient Information: Peripheral Arterial Disease and the Lutonix® 035 Balloon. (n.d.). Retrieved from
  3. Kerr, D. (2012). Recognition of the signs of Peripheral Arterial Disease (PAD) and the evaluation of ulcers.Wound Practice & Research, 7.